Section 504 is the part of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 which protects qualified individuals with disabilities. It is a civil rights act which protects the civil and constitutional rights of persons with disabilities. Section 504 and special education are two separate divisions.
A person qualifies for a 504 plan if he or she has a mental or physical impairment which substantially limits one or more of a person's major life activities and the impairment must impact the child's education. Major life activities include caring for one's self, walking, seeing, hearing, speaking, breathing, learning, and working. When a condition does not substantially limit a major life activity, then the individual does not qualify under Section 504.
Some possible categories where Section 504 might apply could be: asthma, HIV, Tourette's syndrome, ADD/ADHD, alcoholism, heart malfunctions, communicable diseases, blood disorders, chronic fatigue syndrome, drug addictions, respiratory conditions, epilepsy, cancer, birth defects, etc.
Students who do qualify for a 504 plan may receive services and accommodations to assist them in their educational advancement. Possible services might include: related services, program/classroom modifications, and test accommodations.
Ms. Margaret Schlegel, the Director of Special Education, is the 504 Coordinator. She facilitates the 504 process, which is very similar to the special education process. The differences between 504 and special education are as follows:
|Section 504||Special Education|
|* Civil Rights Act||* Education Act|
|* School Funding||* Federal-State-Local Funding|
|* Accommodations & Services||* Individualized Education Program|
|* All disabilities if eligible||* 13 Federal disabilities|